We are in that peculiar soft-centred hiatus between Christmas, strewn with chocolate wrappers and discarded paper hats and gift tags and exhausted Selotape, and a shiny brand New Year.
Pause for thought.
Does the Time really go faster when you’re a Grown Up or does it just appear that way? Time a Whirling Dervish.
Slipping. Slipping too quickly between my desperately grasping fingers. Time a stereotypetoofastblur
I read a poem with my son. For English.
I stumble upon a phrase Tallow. Perishable Treasure.
Christmas Candles, I think.
And Time. Molten. Melting. Disappearing. Precious, precious Time.
Hat wished Christmas would hurry up.
Don’t wish your life away, I warned. As my mother warned me.
Now, with Christmas over, she wishes she hadn’t. Wished it upon us so fast.
But she is too little to worry about liquid days, fluid hours, a deluge of weeks that are submerged by months. So that before we know it next Christmas will come flooding in.
I wish Thursday would hurry up and come, she says.
On Thursday we are going to the beach.
I want to tack Time down. To fasten it firmly where I can keep an eye on it. Quicksilver Mercurial Time won’t have it though.
Despite my efforts.
I take photographs.
To capture a single moment. So that, weeks, months, years from now, I can cast my mind back. Back in Time. And smile. And say, ‘Do you remember that Christmas …?’
And I gather a collection of words. Round them up. So that they might evoke a single day – an hour within a single day if I am lucky – with perfectly articulated precision. So that I might taste the honeyed saltiness of a ham, so that I might remember the piquancy of the Real English Mustard that accompanied it, so that I might recall my children’s smiles as they opened a particular gift, so that I might picture the storm that swept Christmas morning in so that power was swept out and stockings opened to candlelight cast at dawn. So that I might remember.
So that I might pin Time down. For a moment.
With my back to December, I face January. Briefly I am mythical two-faced Janus. If I were to catalogue my past year alphabetically, I wonder, what would I list under A?
I am an A. So is my eldest daughter. And my Husband. A for Africa.
B for my son. And Bush. I Live In The Bush.
C for Cyberspace. I live there too.
D-for-Dogs and walking on a Dam, E, F, G … H for Hat. My sustenance in O-for-Outpost. And Hats. To protect my A-for-African-weathered S-for-Skin and Sunny and Sandy and Solitary existence.
M gets the Most though: M defines Me, a Mum: Motherhood. Marriage. Madness. Absorbed by the first two, I tread respectfully, carefully tip-toe, about the third. My geography tempts it too close sometimes. Burton is his Anatomy of Melancholy (another one, another M): Be not solitary (too late, I am). Be not idle.
So I try not to be. And in this soft-centred hollow carved by retiring 2008 and incoming 2009, I scribble resolutions: understand more, worry less, learn French.
Don’t waste Time.